From Associate Director to Entrepreneur: Rebuilding Identity

 

Because I get asked daily from my friends and family, “How are you doing?  How is your business?”  I will share where this roller coaster of change has me at currently mindset wise. And it may not be pretty.

I am sure I have said this before about switching careers. I knew it would be hard. I knew getting a business off the ground and finding prospects and clients would not be easy. As the saying goes through, you don’t know what you don’t know. And there was a lot, mentally, that I could never have anticipated.

I have had a hard time articulating this so let’s see how it goes putting it in writing.

At my last job, my title was Associate Director. I managed a team of Business Analysts within IT. Sounds fancy right?

I never “felt” like an Associate Director. I never really put that much thought to the clout it may carry to others. If there is ever such a thing as “looking” like an Associate Director, I am fairly sure I did not even have that aspect of it. I never really thought of it as my identity. At all. It was just the title I happen to have that awarded me different opportunities and visibility. I never felt attached to the title.

Yet, leaving that title, that Associate Director thing, I realize now I did have some attachment to it. Which kind of blows my mind.

The attachment is not in the sense that it defined me. (My friends and family had no real understanding of what my job was. I was basically Chandler from Friends). Which is fine. It was a job for me, not a passion.

The attachment I am discovering I have is knowing “what” I was, I guess you can say. Again, anyone can define what an Associate Director is and it would mean something different to each of them.  Yet, it was like this tangible thing that despite not being passionate about it and despite how others may perceive it, it somehow helped me understand my place in the hierarchy and the ecosystem.

(Sanity check! Am I making sense?)

So to go from that understanding to essentially redefining myself has been challenging. As a Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle and Fitness Coach, I am not taking on something that has never been done before; if anything I am entering into a highly saturated industry.  I have to figure out what my place is in this ecosystem I have become part of that sets me apart from the rest.

And that is what has been surprising to me, how much it has shaken my confidence.  I am still figuring out how I fit into this world.  Yes, I know I am meant to be in it, and I know there is a place in it specifically for me; until I have that well established, it is going to continue to be quite humbling in this vulnerable, ambiguous transition.

So when people ask me how I am, it gets harder and harder to answer, which is the polar opposite of what I expected six months out from my corporate life. That also turns into this cycle of feeling like I should have more figured out than I do and then it brings on more insecurity. So you see, it is a total mind fuck. Excuse my French.

The other question I often get is, “How do you spend your time now?” And I become anxious whenever it is asked. Because the truth is, I do not have tangible responses to answer with. I no longer can measure productivity by the projects my team has in flight or the percentage complete of initiatives I am working on. I no longer have time sheets that I can bucket my hours into.

My “tangibles” are things like spending time researching events I could participate in or following up with prospects or maybe even the hours I do spend training and coaching. But I do not have metrics or anything to show if I am trending up or down. I have no idea if I am doing well or sucking at this new career I am in. There is no benchmark. And there is no one I report to who can tell me how I am doing.

I could compare myself to others I suppose if I did want to benchmark, but that leads to all sorts of issues. Never ever compare yourself to someone else. Never. You are not them. They are not you.

So it brings me back to this reality. All that I do, or do not do, is on me. And while that is invigorating at times, it is also downright scary as shit. It is a challenge I struggle with every day to build my confidence when there is so much unknown.

I KNOW in my heart of hearts that everything WILL fall into place. And I know the struggles are what bring success.

I realize that if I live in the negative and the fear for too long, they will become reality. I struggle with all that I have written (and more) every single day.  No matter how much I understand on an intellectual level in terms of how I need to feel or how I should act (fake it till you make it right?), It does not just magically happen, not even on my “good” days.

It comes down to this. The things that often are our biggest nemesis are issues and struggles that have been with us for years, decades even and quite possibly our entire lives. Mine as I mentioned is confidence.

Our nemesis though can also be the key to our success. I know my business is going to rely on me finding my new identity and my new place in the ecosystem, but most importantly it hinges on finding my confidence.

 

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4 Things an MLM Is Teaching Me That Has Nothing To Do With Money

Have you ever done something hoping for one thing and then you walk away with something completely amazingly different? You know, maybe you go shopping for new sandals but you exit the store with the most beautiful pair of boots. EVER?! Ok I am kidding. Maybe. I do love shoes. I want to talk about how possible it is to sign up for something with a specific desired outcome, yet walk away with so much more.

For me, it has been my experience in my first business venture. Before you assume this is a post about MLM’s, please know it is not. I want to share what I am learning about myself as a result of being someone new to having her own business (and new to the MLM world). And just how powerful that all can be. I promise you do not even need to have your own business to have this post resonate with you. Trust.  And read on.

 

  1. People are watching.

Working in corporate America, I find that my brand is someone who can get shit done but also who strives to inspire others. I would say this is true in my business with one exception. When I leave the office, I can pretty much leave my work there until I return the next day.  The majority of my networking and success at my current job happens in a set environment. It reduces anxiety quite a bit because I can unplug when my work day ends.

With promoting, I have realized I need to be ‘on’ a lot more of the time, even in my personal life. I never know who is watching nor do I ever want to miss a chance to have a ketone conversation. It forces me for the better to be very cognizant of what vibes and energy I am giving off to other people.  It is forcing me to smile more, to engage in conversation more, and just really make a concerted effort to ask how other people are doing.  This is so important and eye opening to me not just from a business perspective but from just being a better human being. We all are a work in progress, and for me, this experience is truly helping me blossom. I feel more alive almost because I am not just going through the motions.  I am putting emotion into it. Not to mention, the better my energy, the better the energy is around me. It’s absolutely and positively infectious.

 

  1. Life can be so much more fulfilling when you let people in.

Similar to #1, as someone who is extremely introverted and shy, having my own business is forcing me to overcome that. I find life richer and more fulfilling when I get to chat with other people, whether it’s about ketones or not. It’s giving me a reason to reconnect with friends and acquaintenances. I ­know this will sound contradictory as I am introverted… but I am a social person. I love being ­­­able to interact but typically it is intimidating for me when I am in unfamiliar settings or around unfamiliar people. I am overcoming this as I realize how much there is to gain by talking and learning from others.

 

There is no shortage of like-minded people and that is what gets me truly amped up. My client base and network base potential is endless, which really means that I have endless chances to meet amazing people.  Yes, my initial motivation may be to share the ketone experience but there are so many other gains. I never know who I am going to connect with that perhaps will teach me something. Or perhaps I will teach or inspire them. It gives me renewed hope in a time where there is so much baffling madness around us. It reinforces how kind and good people can be. I know I digress on this point often in blogs, but it nurtures my spiritual side.

 

  1. Branding is so important.
    A huge part of having a business is my social media presence. With that comes a responsibility. People can build whatever persona they want to whether it’s true to form or not. I never want to be anything but authentic and relatable. If I post how hard a CrossFit workout is, it is because I suffered through it. If I post a ­­before and after picture or a photo of my abs, it’s 100% real. I want people to see me for who I am. It is important for me that if I inspire someone to try ketones, that I am not falsely advertising. Being real is what we all are drawn to.

 

  1. I am my own worst obstacle yet my biggest opportunity.
    The only thing that would ever prevent me from being successful is myself and being in my own way. As an introvert, it is not easy for me to strike up conversations with people I do not know, but I am doing more of it (and every time I actually do, it’s remarkably easier).  We all have seen quotes about fear being in the way or on the other side of fear lives happiness.  It is so true. The only thing that separates me from those in the business killing it is myself. There is no reason I can’t be successful (and I whole heartedly believe I will) once I get out of my own way.

 

 

Which also means that I am my biggest opportunity. I have so much to share and teach and inspire that as I do more and more of it, the more happiness and success I will derive. The sky is the limit isn’t it?

 

When you find something that just makes sense, almost like it’s the missing piece to a puzzle, things just organically start to fall into place. Yes you should put in the time and the effort, but when positive intent is there, you become so much more open to things that you may not have ever imagined. There is so much to gain from believing in new opportunities (and I am not talking financial).  We should strive to grow and constantly evolve. We never ever should stop evolving.

Bathroom Selfies: Trouble or Truth?

A few Saturday mornings ago, I was getting ready to workout. I had on pajama bottoms that are probably 5 sleeps away from completely disintegrating, paired with a sports bra. I was not exactly a vision. Anyways, I was walking around my condo doing who knows what (I get easily distracted) when I sauntered past a mirror. Mind you, I do not typically stroll around in just a bra because well, it’s just not my thing. ANYWAYS, I caught a glimpse of my stomach. Well really I caught a glimpse of what I thought might actually be abs.  I had to rub my eyes a few times to make sure I was not dreaming. I obviously had to strike a few different poses and angles to confirm it was not just a figment of my imagination.  I also went into my bathroom to check in that mirror. I turned on and off every combination of lights from my bathroom to the hallway to my bedroom. Ok so at this point of reading, you are thinking, “Missy, you are psycho”. Yes, yes I am. And that is the point of this story.

The psychosis continued. I messaged two of my friends that I knew would tell me if there were really indeed traces of abdominal muscles showing or if it was a figment of my imagination. I expected them to confirm the latter, but much to my dismay, they did not. They told me something like “Missy, you look amazing! And you need to get your head checked. You have total body dysmorphia.”

I share this little story because I know I am not the only one with thoughts like this. I know I am not the only one even at my age who still struggles with body image insecurities. I also know that like many of you, for every moment of confidence I have, I have exponentially more moments of self-doubt.

At this point, I could go in a few directions with this (much like the book series I grew up with, Choose Your Own Adventure). I could write about how we are our own worst critics and give a few tips for how we perhaps can start to change our thinking, but that is not really the main point that is percolating in my brain.(Nor do  I truly know how to do that because surely if I did, I would not even be writing this post today). If you are like me, our insecurities are years in the making.  I am not arrogant enough to think my post will make any of us, including myself, think otherwise.  Or perhaps I could write about how we as a society have unrealistic expectations, but that’s been done time and time again.  I would not do it justice.

Truth be told, I have edited this post about 5 times because I keep vacillating on what is I really want to articulate. I have pinpointed what I essentially want to tell myself and anyone else reading this who also finds themselves obsessing about what they think is imperfect about themselves:  Let’s cut ourselves some slack. We will always have goals or some formed idea of what we think perfect is that we continuously work towards, possibly never to actually be achieved (not because of pessimism, but because we must admit we often set unrealistic goals). Because the thing is, there is no perfect. We can spend our whole lives feeling like we do not measure up, and it becomes like any other negative thought we have. We start thinking it and putting it out there. We keep seeing flaws and ignore everything else. Instead, we need to focus on the positive and freakin compliment ourselves for when we notice something that makes us go, “Well damn, that is impressive.”

Yes, absolutely, I want a 6 pack or even just to have a flat tummy. I also workout like a boss and I do stuff that blows my own mind. Maybe my abs are not where I want them to be, but what about those traps?  Or biceps? Or whatever it is.  My body does reflect the work I put into it if I would just take a minute to acknowledge it and appreciate it.

I know that despite a few bad ass bathroom selfies I am not going to poof, become totally in love with my body. Nor do I expect you to overcome whatever your insecurities are from one little ole blog post. But I do think though that what I learned from those pics is that I spend a lot of time zooming into pictures and honing in on everything and anything I do not like (and I know a lot of you do the same…  It’s ok to admit it, I just did!)  We are not going to change overnight what could be years, decades even, of negative thoughts, but I sure do not want to feel like they are ruling my life. I do not want to be consumed by the negative. I should not need anyone else either to validate how I look (as I did in sending my abs photo to friends). If I see it, I should own it. So should you. End of story.

 

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